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8 Classic Comfort Foods Revamped

How to revamp classic comfort foods for healthier meals

Elise Gruber

Published on: November 13, 2017

8 Classic Comfort Foods Revamped

Healthier burger

Fast food overhaul

If you were raised from the 1950s on, you inevitably ate more than a few meals at fast food establishments. A trip to a burger joint was a real treat for a lot of kids and gave mom a break from cooking.

Although we all harbor fond memories of playing on the McBurglar, we know that fast food is not good for us. But that doesn’t stop a lot of us from craving it!

Here are some ways to overhaul the classic fast food meal:

  • Burgers: Start with lean, grass-fed and/or organic ground beef. Add ketchup to bump up the moisture level without adding fat. Then add finely chopped spinach, an optional egg, a touch of salt, finely minced shallots, breadcrumbs and Worcestershire sauce. Serve on a high-end bun like they do in fancy restaurants with a nice selection of condiments. (Use a natural brand of ketchup or look for corn-syrup-free versions of the classic ketchups from Heinz or Hunt.)
  • Fries: It is criminally easy to make a healthier version of French fries at home. The key is to soak the potatoes ahead of time in ice water, blot them dry, add seasonings and bake them. You can also use sweet potatoes for a bit more vitamin content.
  • Drink: Skip the soda. It’s just a sugar and chemical delivery system and is directly linked to the rise of obesity and diabetes in the United States. Instead, try serving carbonated water flavored with a touch of maple syrup or high-end espresso syrup. Or serve an artisanal-brewed soda like those from Thomas Kemper.
  • Shakes: Remember the rumor in the '80s that Wendy’s was adding plastic pellets to their shakes? Well, that won’t happen at home. Blend a high-end local ice cream (e.g., Snoqualmie, Peaks, Whidbey Island) or low-fat frozen yogurt in a blender with some milk (and optional fruit) and you’ve got a nice milkshake. Or, serve a fruit smoothie.
  • Turnover: I adored McDonald’s turnovers as a kid, but they are full of processed food and sugar. To make them at home, nestle thinly sliced apples with a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar in puff pastry.

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